The limits of my language are the limits of my world. (Wittgenstein)

Essay by benelvisB, May 2004

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The limits of my language are the limits of my world. (Wittgenstein)

Language is defined as "a system of communication consisting of sounds, words and grammar, or the system of communication used by the people of a particular country or profession". (Collins English Dictionary)

All languages are made up sounds and letters which form words, sentences and phrases. The development of a language can best be illustrated by the advancement of a child as it learns a language. A baby begins by using sounds to communicate. It learns these sounds from others and experiments with new sounds to judge the reaction of others (a baby learns very quickly that it will attract attention by screaming!). The next step in its progression is to learn words, which it does by copying others. It is only once the child goes to school that it begins to understand the connection between letters, words and sounds.

All through this development the Child's understanding and use of language advances, giving it access to an ever wider world.

Once the child begins to read, another whole new area is opened up, giving it access to information, opinions and ideas. Later in school, the child will start to develop its own sense of language. With friends it will create a jargon that only people in its group will be capable of understanding properly. A teacher trying to adapt to this language will soon give up. The older the child gets the more it will be able to interpret the language and use a broader vocabulary giving access to an ever wider world.

By attending school and further education, the individual starts to develop a specialised language, depending on which subject it studies. This new experience reflects in the language of the child. Depending on which subjects are...